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Reality Check (13 Apr 2004)
Amongst other things, the bursting of the bubble signalled a reassertion of the principle that only businesses who have a good customer proposition can succeed in the long term. Simply offering products and services on-line via the web is no substitute for a sound 'go to market' model. Further, this paper demonstrates how many would be e-businesses, seduced by the lure of the emerging 'virtual-world' on the web, have ignored 40 years of accumulated wisdom in how to design usable information systems, and have seemingly forgotten that a satisfying 'user experience' is key to the successful implementation of any information system, particularly one in that operates in the public domain. The paper uses the allegorical experience of a 'real' user to provide some powerful insights into how, and by what rationales, the e-marketeers, graphic designers, web designers and programmers responsible for many B2C sites are creating user experiences on the web that are confusing, frustrating and time consuming. Having explained the main problem areas, it goes on to explain why 'clicks and mortar' companies may be better placed to exploit the web than many pure e-tailers, not just because of their business experience, brand identity and multi-channel capability, but because they retain a focus on the importance of user-centred thinking.
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